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Criminal Resource Manual

957. Money Laundering—18 U.S.C. §§ 1956 & 1957

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, Pub.L. No. 99-570, created the offense of "money laundering," which is chargeable as a violation of 18 U.S.C. §§  1956 or 1957. See USAM 9-105.000 et. seq for an in depth discussion of money laundering offenses. Violations of the mail or wire fraud statutes constitute "specified unlawful activity" that may form the cornerstone of a money laundering charge. See §§ 1956(c)(7)(A), 1957(f)(3), and 1961(1)(B) ("Specified unlawful activity" is defined as any act or activity constituting an offense listed in section 1961(1), which includes both mail and wire fraud statutes.). See United States v. Hare, 49 F.3d 447, 451-52 (8th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 211 (1995); United States v. Massey, 48 F.3d 1560, 1565-67 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 2628 (1995); United States v. Smith, 44 F.3d 1259, 1264-65 (4th Cir.), cert. d ied, 115 S.Ct. 1970 (1995).

A conviction for money laundering may result in a much more severe sentence than a conviction based solely upon a mail or wire fraud. Consult the appropriate version of the United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual for the applicable offense levels. The government may also seek criminal or civil forfeiture under 18 U.S.C. §§ 981 and 982.

[cited in USAM 9-43.100]